Your Questions: How Do Promoters Deal With DJ No-Shows?

Phil Morse | Founder & Tutor
Read time: 2 mins
Last updated 14 November, 2017

Flights, illness, heavy gig the night before... DJs cite many reasons for no-shows, but how do you cope with it if you organise a party and the DJ cancels?
Flights, illness, heavy gig the night before… DJs cite many reasons for no-shows, but how do you cope with it if you organise a party and the DJ cancels?

Digital DJ Tips reader Salp writes: “I have been reading up on your articles on how to book a DJ and have found them very helpful, I just have one question if you are able to answer it. If you can go about by booking these DJs without the need for contracts, then what is to stop them from just not turning up or cancelling last minute? Is this a common occurrence, and what do you do in such a situation?”

Digital DJ Tips says:

True, we recommend it’s sometimes worth booking DJs “by the back door” if you can in the articles, even though that may seem less secure than using a contract – and in some ways, it is. But the truth is, nothing stops guest DJs turning up or canceling last minute even when they have got a contract – something that happened to me several times as a promoter. DJs aren’t always the most reliable of people, and of course delayed flights and “nervous exhaustion” (right!) also can lead to guest DJ no-shows.

In such a situation, you put a big notice on the door of the venue informing your punters, and hope they’ll still come in to hear your resident DJs! If you find out early enough, of course you can also inform people via the most usual channels – email, Facebook etc. We even got local radio to read out cancellations a couple of times when I promoted a club night regularly.

We were lucky in that we had strong residents (I DJed every week at my club) who could hold the night with or without guest DJs, so we just ploughed on and hoped for the best. It’s one reason why, if you want to start your own small club night (still one of the best ways of learning your trade as a resident DJ, in my opinion) you really do need to get the balance right between resident and guest DJs.

Have you ever turned up to hear a DJ who no-showed? Have you ever organised a night and had a DJ not turn up? Have you ever not turned up?!? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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